How Much Does a San Jose Workers' Compensation Lawyer Cost?
If you’ve been hurt at work, you may be thinking of hiring a San Jose workers’ compensation lawyer. Your recovery and well-being depend on getting your benefits as soon as possible. A San Jose workers’ compensation attorney gives you the best chance of success with every part of your claim.
If you believe you need an attorney but aren’t sure if you can afford one, this article will help. Once you understand how a San Jose workers’ compensation lawyer is paid, you’ll be prepared to hire the lawyer you need.
Contingency Fees & San Jose Workers Compensation Lawyers
Almost every San Jose workers’ compensation lawyer from Cupertino to Milpitas is paid on contingency. This means that the attorney’s salary depends on whether your claim is successful or not. If you get San Jose workers’ compensation benefits, the attorney takes a percentage of those benefits as payment. If you don’t get benefits, the attorney is not paid for his time although you may owe some money for the costs and expenses of your claim.
A San Jose workers’ compensation insurance judge must approve the fee. The judge needs to find that the fee is reasonable for the attorney’s work, and the fee must be in line with a California-approved schedule of rates. The judge looks at four things when approving a fee:
- The time the attorney spent on your case
- The results of your case
- How much responsibility the attorney had for the outcome of your case
- How much care the attorney took in handling your case
Typically, fees are around 12 percent although they may be as high as 15 percent for complex or long cases. The fee is taken from your temporary and permanent disability benefits. If you receive monthly San Jose workers’ compensation insurance checks, a percentage will be deducted from each one and paid to your attorney.
The contingency fee has advantages and drawbacks. It works very well if you need a lawyer to handle workers’ comp in San Jose. Because the attorney receives no up-front payment, you can use your money for living expenses and medical care, not legal bills.
The contingency fee also encourages the attorney to work hard for you. As your lawyer gets paid only if you are successful, he is motivated to pursue your claim aggressively.
On the other hand, if you have a large claim and it is settled quickly, your attorney may receive a substantial fee for relatively little time. This may seem unfair, but it is a natural part of the contingency arrangement.
Fees & Hiring a San Jose Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
You should have an initial consultation before you hire an attorney. The consultation is your first meeting with an attorney, and if you’re considering several, you may have a meeting with each.
The consultation is an important part of the hiring process. During your meeting, you’ll explain your case, discuss workers’ comp in San Jose and get the attorney’s opinion.
It’s also the right place to discuss legal fees. During your consultation, the attorney must give you a fee disclosure form created by the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WACB). The WACB is the organization in charge of workers’ comp in San Jose. By law, the form must tell you three things:
- Your options for pursuing your benefit claim
- The cases where you may receive benefits without paying any attorney’s fees
- The normal attorney fees in workers’ compensation cases
When you sign the form, you agree to the contingency fee arrangement. Make sure you understand each part of the agreement before you sign. Ask the attorney to provide examples of how the contingency fee will affect you. If you still have questions, you should call the WACB before you sign. The number will be on the form.
It’s important to understand the fee structure and how it affects you. Take the time to learn how each San Jose workers’ compensation attorney is paid before you make a hiring decision.